Tips for keeping safe while using fireworks

Some tips on how to have a safe holiday.

BOISE - It wouldn't be the Fourth of July without fireworks. Many people will head to see a public fireworks display tonight while others will light their own fireworks.

Fireworks can be dangerous and we talked with a local firefighter to find out what you can do to ensure a safe holiday.

When launching off your fireworks you want to make sure you find a place that's safe, such as a parking lot.  Be sure there is no grass around that could catch fire and no trees above, and make sure you always have water available just in case things gets out of hand.

Boise Fire Deputy Chief Steve Rasulo sees the same things happen every Fourth of July.

"Three things are going to happen tonight. Number one: fires are going to happen. Two: People are going to get hurt using fireworks. Three: property is going to be damaged as a result of it," Rasulo said.

There are some things you can do so you don't find yourself on that list. First: be aware of your surroundings.

"Even though we've had tremendous amount of water, everything has dried out tremendously at this point. The grasses have cured out and so it just takes a little bit of a spark to start a fire," Rasulo said.

Sparks can quickly get out of hand, even after you've left, with today's hot temperatures and lack of humidity.

"That spark can sit there and smolder for several hours, just gets just enough wind and it can now start a fire, well after you've left the area and now have that fire that will start to spread."

It's important that you also have a bucket of water and/or a hose to ensure the fireworks are all the way out.

"Wait until their cool and then once their cool, get them put them in a bucket, let them soak for 10 or 15 minutes so they're fully saturated with water, any smoldering on the inside is totally out," Rasulo said.

In Idaho, the only type of fireworks you can legally light off are called “Safe and Sane.”

"These are devices that don't fly in the air, don't' explode and they have a limited distance, they shower sparks," Rasulo said.

Rasulo says that distance is 20 feet.

"Ideally you want to double that, so ideally you have a 40-foot space around the fireworks," he said.

Your space should also be flat, and well away from both trees and grasses that could catch fire.

Although, they may be called Safe and Sane, even the most benign firework like a sparkler stills poses risks.

"It's burning 800 to 1,200 degrees, you can see it’s emitting showers typically towards the end of the device so that's why we want it pointed away,” Rasulo said. “But it does shoot some off to either side, so we want to be aware of that. Obviously, you don't want your face right in the smoke and breathing that, there's some chemicals in there that aren't' necessarily in good health for you."

While enjoying Safe and Sane fireworks is not illegal, modifying them is.

"They're modified, they're unpredictable, and it's illegal to do that. If somebody is injured as a result of that, there could be charges for that in efforts in that regard as well," Rasulo said.

It's important to remember that all fireworks, even the Safe and Sane ones are illegal to light off in the Boise foothills. Click on this link to see the ban area.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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